- Feb 20 2016
As the Geneva peace talks teeter on the edge of failure, the UN-appointed mediator, Stefan de Mistura, must be a harassed, desperate and frustrated man. A resurgent Syrian government, with Russian support, has tasted success against the rebels and has vowed to consolidate its gains. At Geneva, conflicting sides are trading accusations that may well undermine the talks and lead to their collapse. While it may be too soon to tell, the rebel groups are sure to be feeling the heat of the intense bombing campaign by the Russian-aided Syrian government, especially in areas around Aleppo and Homs. The logjam in negotiations looks far from over, with the calls for a halt in airstrikes by the US and its allies being waved aside by Russia, which is determined to keep letting the bombs drop. The ground reality is that a no-holds-barred war continues, adding to the woes of a desperate humanitarian situation. Half of Syria’s population has been displaced and over 250,000 have lost their lives, from a population of 11 million. The usual posturing by all sides is par for course in such negotiations – with the assorted cast of characters from Syria refusing to end the Geneva deadlock. The Syrian rebel groups, opposed to the Assad regime, are demanding that Russia and allied Syrian government forces stop air strikes against rebel-held positions – a demand echoed by the US Secretary of State but refused by Russia. The Russian-led offensive, with the support of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defence Forces (NDF), has led to the dismantling of the forty-month siege of the villages of Nubl and Al-Zahraby the jihadist outfit Jabhat-al-Nusra in the northern province of Aleppo.
Click download on the right to read the Monitor.